ISSN 2398-2993      

Rumen bolus administration


Toby Mottram

Keith Cutler

eCow Limited logo

Rumen bolus administration

  • As a result of gravity and muscular peristaltic movements, weighty items that make their way into the rumen tend to be retained in the reticulum:
    • An example would be wires, ingested by cattle. These are swallowed and move into the reticulum. Once in this location, providing they do not penetrate the wall of the gut (resulting a very sick animal), they may remain in situ for the life of the animal.
    • The Latin name of reticulo-rumen is a clue to its function. Reticulo means “net”.
    • The reticulum is part of the rumen which sits at the lowest point of the abdomen inside the rib cage, behind the brisket.  
  • The ability of the reticulorumen to retain weighty items in this way has been exploited by bolus manufacturers to allow the continuous slow release or pulse release delivery of minerals, anthelmintics and other pharmaceuticals.
  • Following administration, these boluses sit in the reticulum during and after their period of activity.
  • More recently telemetry boluses which monitor, for example, temperature, rumen pH and the rate of rumen contraction have also been developed to provide information that may be useful in diagnosing issues in cow feed management.

Administering boluses

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